“Since the War we have learned from German records what happened to the Glowworm. Early on the morning of Monday the 8th [April 8 1940] she encountered first one and then another enemy destroyer. A running fight ensued in heavy sea until the cruiser Hipper appeared on the scene. When the Hipper opened fire, the Glowworm retired behind a smoke-screen. The Hipper, pressing on through the smoke, presently emerged to find the British destroyer very close and coming straight for her at full speed. There was no time for the Hipper to avoid the impact, and the Glowworm rammed her 10,000-ton adversary, tearing a hole forty metres wide in her side. She then fell away crippled and blazing. A few minutes later she blew up. The Hipper picked up forty survivors; her gallant captain was being hauled to safety when he fell back exhausted from the cruiser’s deck and was lost.”
i don’t know, this doesn’t seem as brave to me as changing your gender or calling out racism/sexism/fascism/homophobia/Islamophobia/anti-Semitism. Actually it seems cowardly because violence is always bad no matter what the circumstances are. Why Churchill thinks otherwise–this beats me!
As I lay last night reading Winston Churchill’s Memoirs of the Second World War, I came across a letter from Franklin Roosevelt to him–the beginning of their long correspondence–in which Roosevelt wrote of having read Churchill’s (very lengthy and substantive) biography of his great ancestor the Duke of Marlborough.
So I began to think: Roosevelt’s cousin, Theodore, had written an excellent biography of Oliver Cromwell. Woodrow Wilson had written a history of America/Americans from the earliest English colonial ventures up until his time. If we go farther back, Lincoln loved Euclid, who he felt showed what proof meant; Jefferson wrote a very interesting work about his home state of Virginia; John Adams wrote a somewhat confusing, but very detailed, history of political republics; Washington had clearly read Gibbon.
After Roosevelt, Eisenhower was a substantive man, although I am not qualified to speak to his reading knowledge–but as a military man I would assume it had to include biographies of figures like Cromwell and Marlborough, among others. Even Kennedy wrote the hugely influential Profiles in Courage–if it is not ghostwritten. But since that time no person who has been President of the United States appears to have even read, let alone written, any serious, detailed work of history. The idea of George W. Bush reading Gibbon or Churchill shocks the conscience; one can form no mental conception of that idiot Obama having read anything substantive about the history of the Anglo-Saxon world; Clinton was too busy fucking broads and Trump is an acknowledged non-reader.
At what point to we have to acknowledge that these leaders have set the tone for the rest of us, and that in following their lead we have sucked the heart out of a country that once represented truly great ideas and content? At what point do we have to recognize that the polarization of our political world is a product not of substantive moral differences but of a lack of substantive moral content, exacerbated by the failure of Americans to study carefully their Anglo-Saxon roots and to understand their cultural, political, and social heritage?
On this Midterm Election Day, these are things to think about–and to act on.